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History (An Operetta) : excerpts

“The world escaped me
It doesn’t like me, nor do I like it—
some kind of animosity
Has arisen between us—”


WITOLD:
I have a voice. A voice you can’t take away. I will speak, because I have a voice. No one now or ever will take my voice away. I’m speaking now! Quiet, I’m speaking! Quiet, quiet! I’m speaking, speaking, speaking!
And what I have to say is very important,
But let my bare foot accompany my mouth,
Here at the bottom of my person
Let it appear
And barefoot I will speak, barefoot ...
Oh, I understand now ...
Why you are giving me a hard time,
My dear little family!
You, seeing my bare foot, think
You can do anything you want with me!

 

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Fragment 18: Young Witold shouts at Marshall Józef Piłsudski.


My God ... My God!
But this word "God" in my mouth
When bound to this foot of mine
Comes unglued!
Long ago I noticed
That the world is just like me!
I used to be merry
And the world was somehow merrier
But for a long time now
Something has been wrong with me.
As a result,
The world sounds wrong, unpleasant
Even my family.
I am responsible for the world
I am the lord of the world!
Oh, don’t laugh at me.
I know, I know
I’m a seventeen year-old upstart.
I am nothing,
A whippersnapper, that’s me.
Don’t take me seriously
Even I don’t treat myself seriously ...
History (Operetta), Fragment 12 [Trans. Kuharski and Bukowski]